Top spot the goal for Sydney

Even though Sydney FC qualified for the AFC Champions League last 16 - due to Guangzhou Evergrande's defeat of Pohang Steelers last night - winger David Carney still wants a win over Urawa Red Diamonds to top Group H.

Guangzhou Evergrande's 2-0 away win over the Steelers means that Sydney FC made history, by moving into the next stage of Asia’s blue ribbon competition without even kicking a ball.

However tonight game against Urawa Red Diamonds still carries significance.

The Japanese side need a win to consolidate their position in the group while Sydney FC will be looking to finish on top after initially being considered an outside chance of even making it out of the group.

“It’s a great game for us to play,” Carney said.

“If we win the game we will win the group. So everyone is fully focused on getting the three points. We are definitely going to go and win the game. It will be a great occasion for the club, it’s the first time in the club’s history we have gone through the next stage.

In 2007, Urawa travelled to Australia with an army of passionate away fans and provided a taste of what it meant to be part of Asian’s football premier club competition.

David Carney scored a memorable goal in a pulsating contest that finished in a 2-2 draw.

But almost 10 years on the 32-year-old is only focused on tonight’s challenge.

“Back then it was a completely different team I was playing in and a completely different team I was playing against,” he said. 

“It’s just another game for me but another game that is very important. But it’s a great occasion, it’s great for football and great for the A-League and great for everyone with Sydney FC because we’ve had a disappointing season not making the top six.”

The former Socceroo says that playing in the ACL has been a breath of fresh air and the team is enjoying the change in style that the competition brings.

But it’s essential that the Sky Blues find some success in the competition.  

“It’s very important we do well,” he said. “We had a bad A-League season so it’s important that we kick on from here. 

"The difference - it’s probably more tactical. Probably a little bit slower compared to the A-League. The A-League is more end to end. But sometimes the A-League can become a fitness battle. 

"In the ACL you have to be tactically very switched on and especially with Urawa Reds they are very disciplined they play to their structure and you make one mistake you can get punished in the ACL. So far we’ve been good. Everybody has been disciplined we’ve stuck to the game plan and we’ve just got to carry that on.”

  • Con Stamocostas is an Australian football writer. Click here to see more of his work and check out the latest episode of his A-League Snobcast with co-host Rob Toddler.